Alastair Cook must stay on as captain after ending a stand-off between past and present players to inspire England’s Ashes series victory, according to Stuart Broad.
Pace bowler Broad believes Cook has demolished an invisible wall that had prohibited ex-England stars handing out hints and tips to the current generation.
Broad – whose eight for 15 was the stand-out performance of the urn-clinching Nottingham Test – says he had rarely spoken to the likes of Sir Ian Botham during his England career until Cook found a way to bridge the divide between past and present.
“He [Cook] admitted after Trent Bridge that his stubbornness sometimes got the better of him,” Broad said.
“He has been talking a lot more to ex-players about captaincy and learning from people.
“I think we went through a period as a team when we wouldn’t speak to any of our ex-players and it was like us versus them.
“This new open theory, started by [former coach Peter] ‘Mooresy’ and with [director of criket Andrew] Straussy carrying it on, has helped.
“Go to [Michael] Vaughany in the morning and say, ‘What do you reckon here?’ He tells you – and that can set your mind at rest.
“And the way Beefy has been coming over and encouraging people – I’d played for six or seven years and never really spoken to Beefy.
“Now he is coming over to the team and going, ‘Come on, boys, let’s get this done today.’
“That gives you a huge lift.”
Ahead of this week’s final Oval Test, Broad revealed Cook called every England player last Tuesday in a bid to cement the “burning desire” to complete a 4-1 rout of Australia.
The 29-year-old also branded his figures at Trent Bridge a “once-in-a-lifetime” spell, cherishing public reaction to pictures of his dumbfounded response to Ben Stokes’ stunning catch to dismiss Adam Voges.
“Cooky called us all on Tuesday, to say: ‘Let’s make sure we turn up Monday knowing that we’re in a battle and that we want to start again, Because I’ve got a burning desire for this to be 4-1’,” said Broad.
“And there is a burning desire to keep this form going.
“I think it was a good time to call, in the middle of our week off, the captain was sat on his farm thinking about it, thinking, ‘Let’s make sure we’re all on the money’.”
Broad’s stupefied hands-to-mouth reaction to Stokes’ full-stretch catch to dismiss Voges in Nottingham quickly gathered a viral online momentum all of its own. With fans already printing the image on to T-shirts and Arsenal forward Theo Walcott mimicking the pose, Broad admitted members of the public have offered him their own impressions when passing on the street. While it may not quite rival Mo Farah’s “Mobot”, Broad hopes England can now hang onto the newly-restored feelgood factor.
England face Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa in a challenging winter, with Broad admitting Cook’s men must win abroad to justify recent hype surrounding a new era of dominance.
“I don’t think there’s any danger of us getting too far ahead of ourselves – we’ve got a lot of Test cricket coming our way,” he said.
“But to play in a side with the likes of Root, Ali, Stokes, Buttler, Wood and Finn; there are guys coming through who could play for England for eight or nine years.
“Our away form hasn’t been great for a little while now and we know the UAE is a really tough place to go – we went there as world number one last time and just got destroyed.”
Broad cannot see a way his recent heroics can be bettered, though.
“I hope to play for a few more years yet but I can’t see personally having a better day than that eight for 15,” he said.
“You get those spells once in a lifetime – sometimes for school or a club, but to do it against Australia, it’s not even a dream come true, because I would never have dreamt it.”
l Stuart Broad is an Investec cricket ambassador. For more on Investec private banking, visit investec.co.uk/pb